Yesterday morning I bit the bullet and headed into the studio for some badly needed reorganization. I work in a fairly small spot so things can quickly become chaotic if their not kept in check. I have a closet in which I store most of my current work, blank canvases and bits of stuff I have no idea what to do with but always think I may need at some future moment. My paints were the worst of it. I have a horrible habit of squeezing out paint from the tube and not putting the tops back on. Yesterday I suffered the consequences of that........digging with a small screwdriver to gouge out the hardened acrylic was not on my top ten list of favourite things to do on a Sunday morning.
I guess the up side of cleaning was a chance to browse through some of my favourite art books. I don't read them near enough these days so it was great to take some time to do that. One of my favourites is Ian Robert's "Mastering Composition". Chock full of examples of his beautiful oil paintings as well as a straight forward guide to, you guessed it, mastering composition. One of the exercises he recommends is "A Composition A Day" which he compares to practicing scales on a piano. Everyday take a few minutes or more and draw a small 4"x5" composition in pencil on paper. Nothing elaborate just things that can be found right around you. He believes that daily practice will grow your artistic skills by leaps and bounds within the period of a year. Another favourite book is The Complete Guide to Creative Embroidery by Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn. I thought I knew a bit about embroidery but after reading this book from cover to cover I realize I'm sadly mistaken. Beautiful shots of their work, what inspires them, their personal design sense and a wonderful use of texture makes this book one of most valued that I own.